All posts by Andrew Pump

St. Joe’s Supper Table Christmas Fundraising Catalogue

From homemade spice mixes and rubs, to cakes, loaves, barks, brittles and squares, and even customized ornaments, the St. Joe’s Supper Table Christmas Catalogue has an array of gift options for the holidays. Please consider buying your baked goods or gifts this Christmas from the St. Joe’s Supper Table. All items will be prepared on-site in our kitchen and will be available for pick-up or delivery before Christmas. All proceeds support our community meal service! Download the Christmas Catalogue and order form here: St-Joes-Christmas-Catalogue.

Orders can be placed between November 16, 2020 until December 13,2020. Order Pickup begins December 14, 2020.

For more information, please contact the St. Joe’s Supper Table Manager, Ryan Mitchell:

Sunday reflection for the 27th Sunday in Ordinary Time by John Rietschlin

Sunday reflection for October 4, 2020 by John Rietschlin

I’m sure that over the past week or so, you have been noticing the changing colors in the trees and the beautiful fall sunsets. While Covid19 has caused much suffering, for many it has also created a space to slow down and to be more mindful of the beauty of creation. Last Sunday, my wife Donna and I cycled one of the many great bike paths in the National Capitol Region, just savoring this wonderful gift. And it seems that my FaceBook feed has become a steady stream of photos shared by friends of colorful landscapes, trees, flowers, birds and wildlife that have touched their spirits.

In our Catholic parishes this weekend, we’re gathering together to mark the 27th Sunday of Ordinary Time. However, for many Christians, and others, October 4th is more likely to be noted as the feast of St. Francis of Assisi. This widely venerated and loved patron saint of animals lived and worked in Italy in the early 13th century, but his influence extends far beyond that time and place. For example, in 1979, Pope John Paul II recognized him as the patron saint of ecology.

The Feast of St. Francis is important in another way as it also marks the end of the yearly “Season of Creation” which we at St. Joe’s have been observing since it began on September 1. The Season of Creation is the time of year when the world’s 2.2 billion Christians are invited to pray and care for creation.

While the scripture texts for today’s liturgy were not specifically chosen in link with the Season of Creation, it seems to me that we can readily see in these readings how God is speaking to us about our responsibility to care for and nurture the earth and one another.

When the prophet Isaiah originally sang this love song of God for his vineyard, the song was referring to God’s beloved people of Judah, the southern kingdom of Israel. In the allegory of the vineyard that failed to produce good grapes, Isaiah makes it clear that the chosen people have not lived the lives of justice and righteousness that God expected of a people blessed so richly. The consequence of this failure will be a catastrophic destruction of their home.

We hear in Matthew’s gospel how, nearly 800 years later, Jesus builds on this allegory of the vineyard, showing the religious leaders of his day that they are equally guilty of failing to care for those entrusted to them…the chosen people, the poor and, the weak who are God’s precious vineyard. And they will be guilty even of killing the vineyard owner’s Son, God the Father’s messenger—rejecting his call to live humbly and justly.

But what does all of this have to do with the Season of Creation, you may ask? To answer this question, I need to bring in another modern document—Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si.

From the time of its initial publication, five years ago, Laudato Si has inspired ever growing numbers of Christians and others with a renewed sense of responsibility for our shared home—the earth. One of the important insights of Laudato Si is that the care for the earth and the care for our fellow human beings and all creatures are inextricably linked. Social justice and environmental justice are two sides of the same coin.

Simply put, if we destroy the land or the forests or pollute the water which people need to have food, clothing and a decent livelihood we are violating both social and environmental justice. When, as a human society, we consume more than the world can sustainably produce or fill the air with greenhouse gases, we are collectively destroying the habitat on which we all depend.

So, Isaiah’s lament for the people of Judah–the vineyard that was not producing good grapes—is very much for us today. Jesus’ allegory of the wicked servants who killed the son of the vineyard owner is a call to us to re-examine our own behaviour. In Laudato Si Pope Francis urgently calls all of us to pray for and with creation; to live more simply; and to advocate to protect our common home. Doing so will help all of us to live more justly and sustainably on this earth, our planetary home.

This week…I invite each of us to take a few extra moments to rejoice in the beauty of creation—perhaps a tree resplendent in autumn color, a family member, a friend, a neighbor, an act of kindness by a stranger, a starry night, an inspiring musical composition. Second, I invite each of us to consider signing the Laudato Si Pledge- 1) Pray for and with Creation; 2) to Live more simply; and 3) to advocate to protect our common home. (I have provided a link to that pledge here: Laudato Si Pledge)

Then, having signed the pledge, let us act upon it. In doing so, we will all be part of God’s vineyard, producing much fruit for the benefit of all.

Be well!

Mass on TV and the Internet

Dear St. Joe’s parishioners, here are some links to the Mass on TV and the Internet:

Sunday reflection for February 23, 2020 by Mike Britton

Sunday reflection for February 23, 2020 by Mike Britton


Text: Leviticus 19:1-2, 17-18; Psalm 103:1-4, 8, 10, 12-13; 1 Corinthians 3:16-23; 1 John 2:5; Matthew 5:38-48.

I want you to think back to a time when you were angry about something someone did. Not just a little bit angry, but really enraged, maybe imagining doing something violent in response. Maybe you even did something you later regretted.

Have you got it? Hold onto it for a minute. It might be uncomfortable; if so, that’s a good sign.

For me, these times happen most often when I’m driving. I’m not sure what it is about it, but something about being behind the wheel leads me to forget my generally forgiving and conciliatory nature, and daydream of shooting out the tires of that pickup truck that completely unnecessarily cut me off on the Queensway.

(If that was you, I’m sorry.)

It’s completely normal—healthy, even—to feel angry when we see wrong done; when we allow that anger to shift into a desire to harm, though, we already multiply the wrong, and multiply it still further if we act or speak—or drive—violently. My conscience tells me this whenever I slide into such thoughts, but changing my instinct comes hard. I’m working on it.

The law of “eye for eye and tooth for tooth”[i] was meant as a limitation on vengeance, a rule defining what was excessive. This was for a society where separation of church and state wasn’t even imagined, and there was no dedicated police force. The people were their own enforcers of the law; the courts were a seldom-used last resort. The rule focuses on outward action, and doesn’t look as God looks, on the heart.[ii]

Jesus recasts this law into the mold of the principle already set out in the first reading from Leviticus: “Take no revenge and cherish no grudge.”[iii] He is saying new words, but they are an invitation to recognize and follow the deeper principle already present beyond the bare minimum required to allow the functioning of Jewish society.

In all of these precepts Jesus is trying to tell us how to live in light of the understanding that God loves all of us, and that we cannot fully receive that love until and unless we share it as God does—universally, with “the evil and the good, … the righteous and the unrighteous.”[iv] Paul tries to get the same idea across: “You”—all of you—“are the temple of God, and … the Spirit of God dwells in you.”[v] Even in the ancient text of Leviticus, we find it hiding in plain sight: “Be holy, for I, the Lord, your God, am holy.”[vi]

So what are we to do when we are wronged or see wrong done? I think the first thing we need to do is recognize our emotions—hurt, anger, and so forth—and decide not to be dominated by them. We can choose to see the humanity of each person, even those who perpetrate atrocities, and seek ways to help them do no more wrong. For any of us to learn love, we need to be shown it; only then can we begin to recognize, regret, and redress the consequences of the wrong we’ve done.

Pacifist resistance to evil is the answer Jesus teaches. Turning the other cheek, giving one’s cloak, or going the extra mile,[vii] in the culture of the time, were means of shaming the oppressor. If you don’t think it works, ask Mahatma Ghandi, who applied this strategy to win free of an empire originally willing to exploit and even kill the citizens of a nation for their own enrichment.

Jesus’ own Passion, of course, is the great prototype of teaching love this way. He doesn’t resist, even though he is taunted, “‘[S]ave yourself! If you are God’s son, come down from the cross!’”[viii] Instead of a display of power and revenge, his answer is “‘Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.’”[ix]

I think we sometimes draw too great a gulf between Jesus and ourselves. He invites us to step up and not be satisfied with half-measures, telling us to “‘be perfect, just as [our] heavenly Father is perfect.’”[x] Even though we stumble, he simply calls us each and every time to “‘go and not sin any more.’”[xi] Whenever we live the essence of the commandments, even for a moment, we are what we are meant to be: the Father’s holy temple, the living body of the eternal Christ, the action of the Holy Spirit. We receive and give God’s unifying and perfect love.


[i] Exodus 21:24

[ii] 1 Samuel 16:7

[iii] Leviticus 19:18

[iv] Matthew 5:45

[v] 1 Corinthians 3:16

[vi] Leviticus 19:2

[vii] Matthew 5:39-41

[viii] Matthew 27:40

[ix] Luke 23:24

[x] Matthew 5:48

[xi] John 8:11